Prevent Identity Theft by Protecting the Information You Carry
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it for their own gain. As a victim of identity theft, it can take a long time and a lot of money to restore your good name.
The key to preventing identity theft is to keep thieves from getting your personal information in the first place. Here are some ways to protect the personal information you carry every day.
- Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write the number on checks.
- Never write a PIN for a credit/debit card on a slip of paper in your wallet.
- Watch out for "shoulder surfers” who try to see the PIN you enter at an ATM or card reader. Block the view of the keypad.
- Before sharing any financial or personal information at your workplace or school, ask why it’s needed and how it will be safeguarded.
- Limit the personal or financial information you carry.
- Minimize the number of credit/debit cards you keep with you. If you lose a card, cancel it immediately and contact the fraud division of the card company. If you apply for a new card and it doesn't arrive in reasonable time, contact the issuer.
- Watch cashiers when you hand them your credit/debit card for a purchase, to prevent account numbers from being copied.
- When you receive a new credit/debit card, sign it in permanent ink and activate it immediately.